So You Bought A Car With No Title? Here’s What To Do Next


So you bought a car with no title and now you want to get a title in your name. Maybe you’ve been the victim of title jumping. What do you do? If you can’t get ahold of the seller, you might think you have no options left. You aren’t stuck yet. You might be able to get a bonded title.

What is a bonded title?

bonded title is a regular title that is marked “bonded”. Maybe you have heard of a salvage title or a rebuilt title? Those are titles that have a title brand. A bonded title is just a title with a “bonded” brand. It implies there is a surety bond attached to the title.

The “bonded” brand can be removed from the title in 3-5 years, and you can go apply for a clean title. To get a bonded title, your local DMV will require you to purchase a Lost Title Bond (surety bond) as a form of insurance for them and any previous owners of the vehicle.

Further instructions are below for how the bonded title process works.

Car without a title – How to get a bonded title

Step #1: Check with your local DMV to make sure you are eligible

The only person who can tell you if you are eligible for a bonded title is your local DMV. Call and explain your situation. Ask if you are eligible for a bonded title. If they say yes, you can start the process to get a bonded title. Here are common situations where you might need a bonded title. Here are step-by-step tutorials for all the states that allow for bonded titles:

If your state is not listed, it means it does not allow for bonded titles. Contact your local DMV for options on how to get a title for your vehicle.

Step #2: Purchase a Lost Title Bond

Before the DMV issues you a title, they want to ensure they are protected. This is why they make you get a surety bond. You can apply for your surety bond online with a surety bond company. Make sure you apply for the correct bond amount.  You only have to pay one time for your bond. Most people pay $100.

Step #3: Turn your bond into the DMV

After you purchase your bond, it will be mailed to you.
Bonds are mailed via mail.
Once you get your bond, take it to the DMV and apply for your bonded title.
There might be other requirements to get a bonded title (such as title paperwork, sending certified letters to any previous title owners, etc). For exact requirements on every state, view our step-by-step tutorials.

Conditions of getting a bonded title

When you get a bonded title, you are promising you are the true owner of the vehicle. The bond is in place to protect the state DMV and any previous owners of the vehicle.
If someone comes forward later on and says that they are the owner of the vehicle and that you should not have been granted a bonded title, they can make a claim on your Lost Title Bond. If the claim is determined to be valid, the surety company would pay the person a fair amount. It would then be your responsibility to repay the surety company.
You can learn more about the bond claim process. If you are the rightful owner of the vehicle, you should not have to worry about any bond claims.

Still have questions?

Helpful Resources:

About Surety Solutions, A Gallagher Company

Surety Solutions makes the process of getting your surety bond quick and easy. We’re committed to uphold our culture of trust, honesty and great customer service.

Do you need a Bonded Title?

Follow our simple infographic to see if getting a Bonded Title is the best option to register your vehicle.

Related Articles

If you bought a car without a title or were title-jumped, getting a Bonded Title might be your best solution. Read more…

Find out what you can do if you are a victim of title jumping. Read more…

If a Vehicle Dealer did not provide a title or other paperwork to register your vehicle, you may want to file a complaint. Read more…

Bought a car with a bonded title? You should be aware of these important details. Read more…

Picture of Duke Revard
Duke Revard

Duke Revard was the VP of Sales & Marketing at Surety Solutions where he spread the word about the innovative surety solutions available to local insurance agents and large brokers.

This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. The person I got the car from was incarcerated before I could receive it from him

  2. I purchased a vehicle from someone. But that person never did a title transfer and never registered the vehicle.. I was able to get in touch with the pervious owner and last known person to have vehicle registered. Could I get a bill of sale from the pervious owner? And if so what will I need to do to get the paperwork and get a title in my name and get it registered in my name?

    1. Hello Jackie,

      Since you are in contact with the original owner, they may be able to get a duplicate original of the title from the DMV to transfer the vehicle into your name. If that is not possible, we recommend you contact your local DMV to determine your options for getting your vehicle’s title. They may advise on a bonded title if your vehicle is eligible. We have helpful step-by-step guides on the process of getting a bonded title in all the states that allow them here:

      Best of luck with getting your vehicle’s title!

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